Thanksgiving is usually a time to watch parades and fill the face with turkey and cranberry sauce. But the United States has always been proud to celebrate the essence of this holiday. Thanksgiving is a time to help others, to accept this community spirit and give something back. Shelters provide warm places for the homeless. Charities raise money for many important purposes. And families gather around the table to say thank you. Thanksgiving reminds us that the United States is a really warm and welcoming place.
Many ordinary men and women will spend Thanksgiving helping others. So let's take some time to celebrate just a few of those wonderful people and their victims.
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10 Saving a Baby's Life  On Thanksgiving Day 2011, firefighters arrived in a flaming apartment in Brooklyn , The fire started when a careless smoker dropped a burning cigarette on a mattress. In a desperate attempt to extinguish the fire, one of the residents tried to get the mattress into the bathroom. The plan failed spectacularly and the fire spread even faster.
The New York Fire Department arrived in less than three minutes. One of the teams set out to extinguish the fire while the others began dragging survivors from the smoke-filled building. One of the inmates jumped out of a window on the third floor onto the awning of the adjoining building. The man was trapped and full of blood. Fireman Matthew Hanley of Chief 122 has retrieved the man.
In the meantime, firefighters David Newberry and Richard Myers stormed into the apartment to rescue the remaining residents. Myers successfully extracted a man and a woman. In the midst of the ruins, Newberry spotted a little baby that was not breathing anymore. Firefighters Andrew Hartshorne and Neil Malone worked with the EMT crew to manage the CPR. The young man, Josiah Alexis, remained lifeless for almost six minutes. Luckily, the crew managed to bring Josiah back. "It's like a song for your ears when you hear this baby catch its own breath," Malone said.
It took an hour for the firefighters to control the fire. The entire family was hospitalized and ventilated there. "Do not fool yourself, there are five people living today because of FDNY's coordinated efforts," said Kevin Woods, FDNY's Deputy Chief, "and we're very grateful for this Thanksgiving holiday." 
9 Disabled Teen Meets Thanksgiving
Drew Bell was born with spina bifida, a congenital defect that caused problems with the development of his spine. Over the years, a total of seven corrective surgeries were performed. Drew can not walk anymore and remains bound to a wheelchair. But that did not stop him from living a normal life.
After enrolling at Keller High School in Texas, he decided to join the school's 400-member brass band. Drew was one of the band's trumpeters, and had a close friendship with Kailey Summons. However, there was an obvious problem. Drew could not maneuver his wheelchair while playing the trumpet. When the band directors came up with the idea that another student could help Drew during his marches, Kailey volunteered immediately. The two practiced together from that day on. This meant that Kailey sacrificed the opportunity to play her own instrument during the school's "Spirit Shows".
"I just did it to make sure he always had a place in the band and he'll always do it," explained Kailey. The 18-year-old also had other obligations. As head of the brass section, she had to carry out uniform checks and organize the newcomers.
In 2018, Drew fulfilled his desire to attend Macy's Thanksgiving Parade. Kailey should be at his side. But Drew's mother, Kimberly Bell, wanted Kailey to march like any other band member. So Kimberly came in to push her son instead. "I'm just thankful that it worked because I want her to shine and have her moment," she explained. 
8 SMS with the wrong number
In 2016, Jamal Hinton was surprised to see an offer for a Thanksgiving dinner on his mobile phone. "Thanksgiving dinner is at my house on November 24 at 3:00 pm. Let me know when you come. I hope we all see each other. "The woman said it was his grandmother. Hinton was skeptical. "Well, it was either the wrong number or my grandma learned how to handle her phone," Hinton mocked.
When the 17-year-old asked for a photo, it became clear that Jamal was talking to another's grandmother. Jokingly he asked if there was still a plate left. The wrong grandmother, Wanda Dench, insisted that Jamal still attend her Thanksgiving. That's exactly what he did.
The happy accident has now sparked a tradition. In 2018, the Arizona teenager attended the Thanksgiving dinner at Wanda for the third consecutive year. He even brought pumpkin pie. Jamal and his partner intend to invite Wanda to future Thanksgiving dinners once they have their own place. After the media drew attention to the story, Kraft gave Heinz Wanda Stove Top stuffing for a year. She donated most of the filling to a local food bank. 
7 Extension of the Family
The National Adoption Day is celebrated on the Saturday before each Thanksgiving Day. Many states take the opportunity to welcome as many young people as possible. Hundreds of events are organized nationwide every year to raise awareness of the more than 400,000 children currently in the care system.
Brian Massucci, a Massachusetts-based criminal lawyer, knew for years that he would adopt a child. He saw vulnerable children entering the system for many reasons. Some parents were drug addicts. Others suffered from crippling mental health problems. On National Adoption Day 2018, Palmucci returned to his own courthouse and adopted a little boy, Michael.
On this day, the Brockton District Court combined 37 children with new families. Sister Shelly Sepulveda was there to adopt her sixth child, Kameron. The 9-year-old met Shelly when he suffered from a rare form of bone cancer in the hospital. Kameron is in remission now.
A week later, Michael sat down for Thanksgiving dinner with his new family. "We are the ones blessed with him, not the other way round," said Allison Palmucci. "He probably changed our lives more than we are." 
6 A feast for the homeless
It is no secret that California has a problem with homelessness. The authorities estimate that the Golden State was responsible for nearly a quarter of all homeless people in the US last year. According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, nearly 130,000 homeless people are wandering the streets of California. Tens of thousands of these people are veterans and young adults.
The Midnight Mission on Skid Row is eager to help and prepares the Thanksgiving dinner for thousands of homeless each year. The mission also distributes other important items, including hygiene kits, clothing and blankets. Of course, many of California's missions reach those in need all year round. They help fight homelessness, poverty and drug addiction.
It's not uncommon to see famous faces distributing Thanksgiving meals in Skid Row. Each year, actress Minnie Driver takes her son to serve food. She hopes it will teach him to become part of the community and give something back. In 2018, Kevin Hart's daughter persuaded him to attend Thanksgiving. His family donated $ 50,000 to the Mission and distributed food and care packages. "I'll say I'm happy to be a helping hand," the comedian told the media. "But I think the people involved in the mission daily … these are the real people who deserve the applause." Adults enter the 5km and 10km harness races while the children compete in the Widdle Wobble race. The Midnight Mission, which prepares over 400,000 meals a year, uses the proceeds of the run to pay for its supplies. 
5 The 9-year-old shoe collector
Lynnea Montgomery always wanted to help others. When Lynnea was just seven years old, she raised nearly $ 400 to buy clothes for the homeless. The girl from Arizona then raised more money for her cause over the next two years and even went so far as to use her own allowance.
Lynnea's church often donated clothes for homeless people for Thanksgiving. She noticed, however, that they had received very few shoe donations. So, the following year, Lynnea slipped a plan. She distributed handwritten flyers and asked the residents of Tucson to donate a pair of shoes.
The community came through. Nearly 200 couples were donated over a six-month period. Lynnea even got several bags of shoes from L.A. Dodgers player Alex Verdugo. After washing used shoes at the laundrette, Lynnea distributed them to the homeless on Thanksgiving. The fourth grade was attended by members of the Rising Star Missionary Baptist Church, who had previously given her the Outstanding Volunteer Award. Lynnea talked about what motivated her to continue working for charity: "We are not in need because we are rich, as we are rich in God. So I know that everything will come to me as God pleases, and I want it to come to others, and so I wanted to help others. 
4 Mattress Mack
In 2017, Hurricane Harvey devastated large parts of South Texas and Louisiana. The Category 4 hurricane damaged approximately $ 125 billion, caused torrential rains in Houston and displaced nearly 40,000 people. Stunning 70 percent of Harris County was under water. And the sheer weight of the floods dropped Houston two inches.
On the morning of August 27, Jim McIngvale waded through his damp home to prepare for another day's work. But the Houston businessman saw only the true extent of the destruction as he walked to his furniture store. McIngvale, better known as "Mattress Mack," was determined to help his community. He invited the residents to join him in the food and lodging furniture store. He also sent his vans to rescue around 200 people who were trapped.
As Thanksgiving passed by, Mack hosted a dinner for the people of Houston. Hundreds of volunteers prepared around 5,000 pounds of turkey and ham. They also served cranberry sauce, cornbread, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, pizza and hot dogs. A whopping 6,000 meals were served that day. Mack also paid for a group of first responders who flew to Los Angeles watching the Houston Astros play in the World Series.
Mack has used his wealth over the years for many good deeds. The 68-year-old has sharpened awareness of mental health issues, funded a mobile stroke station and donated furniture to local schools. Mack's mantra is simply, "The essence of life gives." 
3 The theft that brought together a community
Volunteers at a food bank in Toledo, Ohio, were desperate just days before Thanksgiving 2017. The team arrived at the Cornucopia Food Pantry and learned that a bunch of rogues had stolen the charity's only van. The trailer was needed to carry supplies to disadvantaged parishioners. Without them, the volunteers had to reduce every pallet of donations. Then they had to load the items into their own cars, which made the delivery process more difficult and time consuming.
CEO Laura Marsh decided to publish details of the incident on Facebook. It was quickly flooded with aid offers. "We started talking on the phone and talking on the phone," Marsh explained. "My phone rang until 2:30 in the morning from people who were interested in helping us."
With the help of the community, the Cornucopia Food Pantry was able to complete all of their Thanksgiving deliveries. Residents used their own trucks to deliver supplies of food and clothing. A Michigan couple donated $ 1,500 to finance a new loading dock. 
2 Haircuts for turkeys
This year the barber Nate Rivera wants to make a pact with his clientele. The business owner from Kansas says he will offer a free haircut to every customer who donates a turkey. The program "Haircuts for turkeys" should help families who are less well off.
Rivera, owner of N8's Barbershop, knows that the cost of hosting Thanksgiving dinner can rise quickly. Rivera needed a kidney transplant as a teenager and left his family expensive medical bills. Fortunately, friends and friendly strangers offered to pay the Rivera Thanksgiving dinner. "You can not express how thankful I was for people who wanted to help others without getting anything in return," he said.
A hairdresser from Florida is planning a similar plan 1,200 miles away. Casandra Raley will give the whole Thanksgiving day free haircuts. The 24-hour haircut marathon is Raley's way of rewarding those who have supported their business. "I was blessed to have clients in this community [who have] who stood behind me and continued to help expand my business," she said. Raley will also offer free meals for the families of their customers and distribute bags of food. 
1 The Paradise Firefighters
2018 was the year of the most destructive forest fire in California. The fire known as a campfire was caused by a faulty power line over the Poe Dam in Butte County. The fire spread quickly over the dry scrubland and was thrown by strong winds into the city of paradise. Within hours, the inferno had devastated the whole city. Other regions were heavily affected, including Concow, Magalia and Butte Creek Canyon. The fire broke through 153,000 acres of land, destroyed 18,800 buildings and claimed the lives of 85 people.
Thousands of firefighters were asked to handle the fire. The night air turned blood red and filled with ashes and embers. Desperate refugees found themselves on congested highways, watching their own cars go up in flames. The windows of the fire engines were provided with refractory ceilings. Cal Fire strike teams worked against the traffic to reach the ever-stalking wall of fire. Other teams made a final stop at a local gas station and formed a defensive line to protect fleeing motorists. The crisis lasted two weeks. Miraculously, the fire was stopped by a combination of heavy rain and the tireless efforts of firefighters.
Even after the firestorm subsided, the emergency services continued their efforts. Thanksgiving firefighters searched for survivors amidst the glowing ruins of paradise. Carcass dogs were used to track down remains. Charities and churches organized relief and provided evacuees with food and shelter. The Red Cross provided medical help and fought the outbreak of Norovirus. As if that was not enough, some of the firefighters even prepared a Thanksgiving dinner for the victims of the campfire.
Cooks and volunteers from all over the state descended on Chico, 10 miles west of Paradise. There they assembled rows of bar burners and gas grills. The organizers cooked about 7,500 pounds of turkey – enough to accommodate between 10,000 and 15,000 participants. José Andrés and Guy Fieri coordinated the huge banquet. The turkeys were laid on the eve of Thanksgiving at 8 pm and cooking started at 5 am. Thousands of meals were distributed to evacuees, first aiders and Red Cross and Salvation Army volunteers.
Jim Irving was one of the firefighters who sacrificed Thanksgiving for preparing meals. He had already spent several exhausting weeks fighting the campfire. "For me it's almost as if I'd rather be here," Irving said. "They know it helps other people, and that's part of what Thanksgiving is all about."